Working group outlines e-gov architectures

'The thinking long term is we will move beyond the [25] initiatives and help agencies take on these kind of approaches in other e-government projects. In the next year or two that will happen.'

'OMB's Bob Haycock

Henrik G. DeGyor

The Office of Management and Budget's Solutions Architect Working Group is working closely with officials from 11 of the 25 Quicksilver e-government projects to develop a tool to help agencies plan, develop, implement and maintain their projects.

The group, a cadre of about 20 federal and private-sector e-government experts, is starting to put its imprint on the 25 initiatives. It is helping the managers of 11 projects to design an architecture, apply technologies and build relationships with federal, state and local government agencies as well as with industry, OMB officials said.

'The initial focus of this group is to help [managers] think through and plan a vibrant solution architecture that will move them toward the e-government objectives set for that program,' said Bob Haycock, OMB's chief architect.

Haycock spoke this month at the Enterprise Architecture: Your Blueprint for Transformation conference in Washington sponsored by Post Newsweek Tech Media and the Digital Government Institute.

The group is spending a significant amount of time on three projects, Haycock said, but he declined to identify them.

The working group has more of an advisory role with the other eight projects for the time being, he said.

The planning tool the group is developing will collect established processes and procedures and refocus them to make it easier for project leaders to use them.

It will lay out what agencies need to do for each part of a project, such as writing the business case or outlining critical success factors.

Haycock said the working group will use the tool to help agencies plan their project architectures.

Build on components

The group also will help project managers identify component systems already in use by agencies, such as the Treasury Department's, Haycock said. He said is a payment processing application that uses Web capabilities and easily can be integrated into a project.

Group members will lend their expertise in technologies such as Extensible Markup Language, Web services, component-based design and architecture development.

'The thinking long-term is we will move beyond the 25 initiatives and help agencies take on these kind of approaches in other e-government projects,' Haycock said. 'In the next year or two, that will happen.'

The group's work with the CIO Council's Infrastructure and Architecture Committee and several new subcommittees will increase over the next year, Haycock said. Norman Lorentz, OMB chief technology officer, said the subcommittees'which focus on architecture, component architecture and emerging technologies'will play a larger role in policy planning.

'The working group, in my mind, should be a function of that set of subcommittees,' Haycock said.

Haycock said OMB is testing the Federal Enterprise Architecture Management System, which will maintain the federal reference models upon which major IT initiatives will be based. Agencies will have access to the system by mid-November, he said. They will be able to search the system and report to it but will have read-only access to the data it contains.

The FirstGov portal eventually will host the system, which OMB is constructing using existing hardware and software, Haycock said.

The Housing and Urban Department developed FEAMS, and OMB adapted it for governmentwide use.

Haycock said he expects agencies to use FEAMS for the fiscal 2005 budget process.

OMB also will by mid-November release draft versions of the performance, service component and technical reference models of the Federal Enterprise Architecture for agency comment. The second version of the Business Reference Model, including Defense Department and Homeland Security lines of business, will be ready by mid-January, Haycock said.


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